Ultraband – Use it or lose it

ultraband

Trademarks are fundamentally different from patents and copyright.

An invention becomes ‘property’ or a ‘tradable asset’ only if a patent  application is filed in a timely manner and if an examiner is convinced that it meets statutory  requirements. It has to be  a method or device that is novel, useful and non-obvious. The patent issuing creates a rebuttable assumption that the invention is all these things. The patent is limited in geographic scope and in time.

Copyright is a form of protection for creative works such as plays, literature, films, music and the like. The act of creation creates the ownership. It does not require registration. the protection is for extraordinarily long periods of time, such as life of author + 50 years, or in some places and cases life + 95 years.  Not just great works of creativity, but more or less anything, including this blog post, for example, is automatically copyright protected, more or less worldwide.

Trademarks are a different sort of thing. In many common law jurisdictions one obtains rights by simply using a unique name or logo for branding purposes. Registration makes enforcement easier and in many cases makes it possible to claim damages. One has to use the mark. Registration alone is insufficient.  In the US, one really needs actual use to be able to register a mark. In other jurisdictions, intent is adequate.

Israel Trademark No.  1987840 for  “Ultraband” was registered by Vyyo, a company whose strange name comes from the garbage that is shown when computer code is corrupted.

PeerApp LTD filed a cancellation request with the patent office arguing that the mark was not in use. Since the mark owners failed to show actual use the Deputy Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks struck the mark from the register. She is correct. Trademarks are not speculative investments, but a means of identifying sources of goods or services. If a mark is not in use, it should be available for others.

Since the cancelation proceedings went smoothly, no costs were awarded.

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